UNIFIL, Environment Ministry launch Greening the South initiative
Lebanese Minister of Environment Mohammed al-Mashnouq and UNIFIL Head of Mission/Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano planted mid-February the first tree in the garden adjacent to the office of UNIFIL's Command in its headquarters in Naqoura. The second phase of the campaign was continued in the town of Shehour, where many trees were planted in coordination between the environment Ministry and Shehour Municipality.
This marked the inauguration of "Greening the South" campaign organised jointly by UNIFIL's Civil Affairs office and the Ministry of Environment.
Since then, hundreds of trees have been planted in UNIFIL headquarters and bases and across southern towns and villages.
This project aims at contributing to the forestation of UNIFIL's area of operations and also at "engaging local authorities in the project as this comes as part of the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which stipulates that UNIFIL assists the Lebanese State through its various institutions in the extension of its authority in the South," explained UNIFIL Civil Affairs officer, Sultan Sleiman.
The project covers the areas falling under the jurisdictions of the unions of municipalities of Bint Jbeil, Tyre, Jabal Amel, Qalaa and Arqoub.
Seedlings were collected from the Association for Forest Development and Conservation in the Shouf town of Mukhtara. The Agricultural Services Centre in the town of Tiri played a prominent role in their distribution in the South.
Nearly four thousand trees have been planted inside UNIFIL's bases, including more than 1500 trees inside the main headquarters in Naqoura.
Head of the Agricultural Services Centre of the Union of Bint Jbeil Municipalities Mohammed Melhem thanked UNIFIL for its efforts in the implementation of the project. "The project will be an outlet for future generations to enjoy the fresh air and have fun in spacious places in nature," he added.
UNIFIL Chief of Civil Affairs Officer Albagir Adam, said: "We will do everything necessary for the success of this project, as we consider that part of our responsibility is to preserve the environment in our area of deployment."
Launched this year with a hundred thousand trees, the project will be completed in the next year so as to achieve the ultimate goal of planting three hundred thousand in UNIFIL's area of operations.